Ladenburg starts Checkpoint Therapeutics at buy

Ladenburg Thalmann initiated coverage of Checkpoint Therapeutics (OTCQX:CKPT) with a “buy” rating and $20 price target. The stock closed at $13 on March 21.

CKPT focuses on combination treatments for solid tumors based on immuno-oncology (IO) and targeted therapies against well-validated targets. The company is in the process of uplisting to NASDAQ.

Analyst Wangzhi Li writes that Checkpoint currently has two IO assets: an anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody (CK-301), with an expected IND filing in mid-2017, and an anti-GITR agonist monoclonal antibody (CK-302), targeting an IND in the first half of 2018.

The company also has four targeted therapy assets: a 3rd-generation T790M EGFRm inhibitor (CK-101) currently in a Phase 1/2 study for non-small cell lung cancer; a PARP inhibitor (CK-102) with Phase 1 data; a Bromodomain (BET) inhibitor (CK-103), targeting an IND in the second half this year; and an anti-CAIX monoclonal antibody, targeting an IND in 2018.

“Checkpoint intends to develop its pipeline drugs as differentiated monotherapies, but more importantly as one-stop in-house combination therapies for a variety of solid tumors, and compete with competitive pricing and logistical convenience,” Mr. Li said

He suggests that Checkpoint’s pipeline resembles that of Beigene (NASDAQ:BGNE) and Tesaro (NASDAQ:TSRO) in many ways, but at an earlier stage.

“We believe Checkpoint is currently under-recognized and presents an attractive investment opportunity tapping into the combination therapy trend for cancer treatment,” he added.